A male nurse accused of engaging in a sex act with another male nurse while caring for a 99-year-old stroke victim pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of elder neglect and lewd act by a caregiver.
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Russel Torralba, 41, was ordered held on $200,000 bail. He was arrested and extradited to San Diego last week.
Deputy District Attorney Paul Greenwood told Judge Michael Smyth that Torralba had been in Canada and didn’t realize he was wanted in San Diego. Smyth ordered the defendant to surrender his passport, should he post bail.
Co-defendant Alfredo V. Ruiz, 42, faces the same charges and was arraigned in December.
At that time, Greenwood said a March 2011 video shows Ruiz and Torralba engaging in a sex act near the bedridden woman for whom they were caring.
The woman’s daughter suspected that her mother was not being cared for properly and complained to the defendants’ employer. When the complaints went nowhere, family members viewed video from security cameras that had been installed in the woman’s home years earlier.
Greenwood said the video shows Ruiz and Torralba engaging in a sex act and Ruiz taking the woman’s hand and putting it on his groin area.
Ruiz and Torralba are also charged with providing inadequate care for six other residents at two board-and-care facilities in Mira Mesa in 2010, the prosecutor said.
The defendants are charged with four felony and four misdemeanor counts of elder neglect by a caregiver and one count of lewd act by a caregiver on a dependent adult.
They each face 11 years in prison if convicted, Greenwood said.
A readiness conference is scheduled for both defendants Wednesday, and a preliminary hearing is set for March 20.
—City News Service
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